Sarasota Main Street merchants complain of homeless activity

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The issue with vagrants downtown may have hit rock bottom over the weekend, when a downtown Sarasota business owner was injured in a confrontation with a homeless man left both men crashing through his plate glass window.

Robert Kay says he was outside his wine shop Saturday evening when a vagrant walked by and became hostile. Within seconds they both fell through that window.

Kay suffered a six inch cut on his arm, and the other man began bleeding even worse.

Police arrested Robert Robinson and charged him with battery. Kay says Robinson has been arrested 13 times over the past 5 years in downtown Sarasota.

Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson

Kay says he hopes this incident calls attention to the need for more police presence downtown. “If this little incident elicits a positive response from the Sarasota city commission and brings the concerned parties together, then I'm happy to take one for the team.”

And it may have done just that.

Police announced Tuesday they're going to use a licensed clinician who will travel with officers. They call it part of the H.O.T. team, or 'Homeless Outreach Team.'

ABC 7's Ray Collins is working on this story and will have more coming up on ABC 7 News at 5.

My name is Scott.